The story about the regular MacBook Pro's display is more about what it isn't (game changing) because we already know what it is (very competent). As always, the display is a very high quality one, essentially the same as the previous 3 years of MacBook Pros and testing very similarly to the other 15" MacBook Pros we've reviewed over the last few years. Our evaluation unit had the base 1440x900 display, though I'd have preferred the matte WSXGA+ panel. The higher resolution is nice to have, and with the matte screen finish, it was one of my absolute favourite notebook displays.

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

In terms of display performance, the 2012 MBP matches up very close to the 2011 and 2010 models, with very good contrast ratio and colour reproduction. But that’s the thing with the regular 2012 MBP – it’s just like the 2011 and 2010 MBPs, just updated to IVB/Kepler. 

The real story here is about what you’re giving up. After using an rMBP, it's actually a little bit difficult to go back to a normal MBP display. I mean, this is by far the biggest differentiating factor between the two, and if you’re looking for a solid reason to put the money down for a Retina, this is it. The normal MBP has a good display, a very good display if you go for the matte high-res option, but the Retina MBP display is just on a completely different level. Like the new iPad, the resolution difference doesn’t add to the screen real estate so much as allowing for a vastly improved UX with higher resolution UI elements and better text rendering. It’s difficult to quantify, and it’s easy to dismiss on the surface, but when you actually use a super high-res panel for a prolonged amount of time, you understand the difference it makes. Obviously, there are still some bugs, and it’ll take probably one full development cycle for most applications to be updated to Retina-spec textures and UI elements, but that is all to be expected in a radical shift such as this. If you’re comfortable sticking to the tried-and-true MBP display, it’s not a bad way to go, but I’d advise you to use a Retina MBP before making a decision to go one way or the other. 

Performance and Battery Life - Ivy Bridge and Kepler At Work. The 13" MacBook Pro - What Now?
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  • Samus - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I don't understand the pricing, either. These Macbook Pro's make the Retina model look like a steal at $2199...
  • cyabud - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    That's kind of the point. If you're in the market for a new MBP, Apple are hoping you'll go for the Retina model.
  • randinspace - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    >_< That's so illogical you're probably right. All I can say is, WTF Apple, WTF.
  • ciabatta - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    For $2200, I'll get a Zenbook Prime for me and my wife!
  • ciabatta - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Hah, that is, 2x Zenbook Prime can be a lot more useful to many people than 1x rMBP. Both good, but saying a $2200 laptop is better than a $1100 laptop is kinda missing the point.
  • mavere - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    And what point is that? If I buy 2x Zenbook Primes, at least one would spend most of its life in its box.

    1) People have budgets. At times, they're higher than yours might be.

    2) Higher end features demand higher prices.

    Perhaps you should get comfortable with those facts.
  • Sunburn74 - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I think its dubuous to say that apple really is offering higher end features over the recent advances of their competitiors.

    Even if they are, this much higher is... well simply put outrageous, even compared to their OWN PRODUCTS!
  • darwinosx - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Then you need to read the retina MBP reviews.
  • darwinosx - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Asus makes junk that they fail to support. Plus you are still running Windows. Life is too short for either.
  • inplainview - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Then don't buy it for God's sake. It's not your money...

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